The sciatic nerve root stems from the large glute muscles in our butt. This nerve, which is approximately the diameter of the thumb and is the largest in the body, runs down the back of the leg to the foot with a branch that cuts over to the front of the leg as well. The nerve can either become inflamed or trapped and cause severe, debilitating pain to those suffering from it. Some cases may be caused by the muscles being very tight and entrapping the nerve whereas other cases may be due to disc issues in the lumbar spine. At times, the pain may travel down the leg to the foot causing pain and numbness. The patient may find standing, sitting or walking difficult and painful. True sciatica, which is the swelling of the nerve, is only present in 10% of cases and is most likely caused by disc issues in the lumbar spine. The other 90% may show that the muscles are tight and entrapping the nerve. In true sciatica, there will also be numbness whereas with tight muscles, there generally will not be.
Acupuncture works in a few ways with this condition. It can help to ease the disc issues that may be the root problem by reducing inflammation and allowing bulging discs to ease. Or, it can help by releasing the tight muscles that are entrapping the nerve. Numbness and pain subside and healing takes place with either cause. Often, the type caused by tight muscles can be relieved in just a few sessions. The true sciatica may take longer although this is not always the case.
Low Back Pain
As two legged creatures, we are prone to low back pain. 80% of us will experience it at some point in our lives. This type of pain may be caused by a number of things. Poor muscle tone in the muscles along the spine as well as with the abdominals, sitting too often, heavy lifting, poor posture, improper shoes and back injury of all kinds are just some of the reasons we suffer from low back pain. Bending and straightening may be difficult and we may experience stiffness after sitting. Hips may be sore as well. If severe enough, low back pain can be difficult to live with.
As with sciatica, low back pain can be remedied with acupuncture. The muscles are released, inflammation eased and circulation increased. Depending on the nature of the source of the pain; the treatment schedule may be only 4 to 6 treatments. Suggestions such as exercise may accompany the treatments.
One of the issues we treat often is shoulder pain and frozen shoulder. This condition can be caused by injury although there are cases when there is no apparent reason for the onset of shoulder pain. Frozen shoulder is characterized when the patient is unable to pick their arm up without great pain and restriction. Nerve pain near or around the neck area may accompany shoulder pain. At times, the pain can also travel down the arm causing aching and discomfort.
With acupuncture, we are able to release the shoulder and provide relief fairly quickly with both shoulder pain and frozen shoulder. Chronic cases awaiting surgery will at the very least, be provided with some relief from the pain. (I should point out that in severe cases of shoulder issues, surgery may be required, usually with great results). In acute cases of shoulder pain and frozen shoulder, acupuncture is often all that is required for complete relief of symptoms. Depending on the case, 6 to 8 treatments may be all that is needed. Each case however, will be different.
Whether caused by arthritis, injury, being overweight etc., knee pain is usually treated quite easily by acupuncture. Swelling subsides, heat dissipates and pain lessens greatly sometimes as soon as the first treatment. The success rate with knee pain and acupuncture is very high. The treatment schedule varies from patient to patient but most require only 4 to 6 treatments.
Mid and Upper Back Pain
As with other back issues, pain that is felt in the mid and upper back are treated with relative ease with acupuncture. Often trigger points are present and the type of acupuncture I use, releases these easily and effectively. Upper back pain can have it’s origins with injury, lack of exercise, overuse of computers and telephones and stress. There are specific things I will look for and the treatment may depend on what the findings are for your particular case